Washrooms not just a place to hang-out


By Ivan Clark, OMC‘s Man on the Move

Washroom advertising is not just about the little boy’s and girl’s rooms in bars, but from speaking to two of the companies who sell ad space in this most personal of environments, it does seem to be where the most impactful advertising action is right now.

It is clear washrooms in bars are visited by most drinkers at least once per visit, more if you’re a session lager drinker or a wag wannabe. It also plain that social media and conversations are high-up the agenda of many brands and their agencies. The washroom can be a great place to prompt people about stuff they could well discuss immediately they return to their real conversations, or to encourage them to go online with their mobile or tablet.

According to Adam Mills, Managing Director at Admedia, “if you’re a guy (watering his horse) you’re looking straight ahead and therefore panels offer a 100% share of viewing at that moment”. Bosco Tench, Marketing Manager at Hi-Tech adds, “washroom media is about un-missable formats, tight targeting and guaranteed viewing”. Both also stress the media is 100% gender specific, hence no wastage for advertisers. Mills points out even the most targeted of women’s magazines can’t claim that, although you wouldn’t catch me taking a peek at Woman’s Own, even at my age.

Bosco’s current favourite Hi-Tech washroom campaign is returning work for Time to Change, aimed at changing perceptions about mental health. Research conducted during previous activity showed nearly 3m people saw beer-mats in bars or panels in washrooms.

Hi Tech's Time To Change


Hi Tech's Time To Change

Mills highlights Admedia’s COI binge drinking work. Vinyls printed with life-size images depicting a girl sitting head down, knickers round her ankles are fitted to the outside of cubicle doors in the ladies. In the gents floor graphics are used to show a guy passed out and looking like he’d had a few more scoops than all bar a seasoned Outdoor media professional drinks.

Admedia's Alcohol Campaign


Admedia's Alcohol Campaign

Don’t be fooled into thinking washroom media is only about panels directly above the urinals in the gents and around the mirrors in the ladies, creative use of the environment is what is driving the business.

Watch out for digital media and even more format choices in the future.

If you want to capture an audience on their way to the washroom with more traditional posters, you could also contact Boomerang, Peel Advertising or Primesight.

One last thing I don’t understand, it seems it’s OK for females to enter the gents, presumably as girls powdering their noses are taking-up all the space in the ladies, but if a man goes into women’s washroom he’s a sex pest.


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